Tuesday, July 19, 2022

5D4N Itinerary of Cairn's Heritage and Nature Exploration

Welcome to Cairns, the adventure capital of Australia and home to not one but two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. If you’re looking for an off the beaten part adventure in Queensland, think no further than Cairns and let’s get right down to planning with this 5 days nature loving itinerary.
Of course, 5 days in Cairns is nowhere near enough to do a deep dive on this incredible destination. However, if you’re on a restricted time-frame, then this is what you’ll want to do in order to experience the islands, Great Barrier Reef, the rainforest and local Cairns culture.

Day 1 - Getting to Cairns

Cairns is a great extension option for any Malaysians travelling through Queensland and looking to travel off the beaten path and into the heart of the reef. You can easily get to Cairns via domestic flights from Gold Coast or any of the major Australian airport hubs.

Catching the first flight out will give you the rest of the day to explore the city. Stop by the Cairns Esplanade to mingle with the locals, enjoy the open-air markets and dine at the al fresco cafes. Don’t miss the saltwater lagoon, a 4,800 square meter swimming pool offering families a cool respite from a hot day.

You can also take a train to Freshwater station to board the Kuranda Scenic Rail. This historical rail journey will take you on a breathtaking views across the cane fields of Cairns to the tropical rainforest of Kuranda. The track winds through hand-built tunnels over bridges and along curves. There are also plenty to see and do at Kuranda from Heritage Markets to animal sanctuaries such as the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary or Kuranda Koala Gardens.

Next, board the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway for a 7.5km journey over and through Barron Gorge National Park, in the Wet Tropics of Queensland’s World Heritage Area. This 90-minute iconic rainforest experience showcases ancient rainforest and spectacular views with time at both Red Peak and Barron Falls Stations.

Day 2 - Shannonvale Valley, Mossman Gorge and Daintree Rainforest

In the morning, pick up your car rental for a leisurely journey up north to Mossman Gorge Centre and Daintree Rainforest. Make a stop at beautiful Shannonvale Valley where you will find Shannonvale Tropical Fruit Winery. Here, you can take your pick from 13 different award-winning wines available for tasting and meet the gracious hosts who would be more than happy to share their love of tropical fruit wines. 

Mossman Gorge is the gateway to the World Heritage Listed Daintree National Park, the world’s oldest tropical rainforest by an impressive 10 millions years. Tree-clad mountains rise sharply from the riverbanks of the Mossman Gorge and set the scene at the spectacular entrance to Daintree National Park. Taking in its centuries old beauty and immerse yourself in its ancient energy with every step. The park also has several easy walking trails to offer, all of which allow you to explore the area around you and view some of the many marvels that this rainforest has on display.

Spending time at the Daintree National Park not only gives you the chance to experience some of Australia’s oldest and most breath-taking scenery, but it also gives you the chance to dive into the rich Aboriginal history that heavily marks this part of the country. The national park is managed and taken cared off by the local Aboriginals, the Eastern Kuku Yalanji which the Queensland government recognised "one of the world's oldest living cultures".

I would recommend allocating a full day to exploring this park with ample time during the drive to make pit stops and side trips to and forth to Daintree National Park.

Day 3 - Great Barrier Reef

Many locals would tell you that the best way to see the another UNESCO World Heritage site and possibly the most famous site is to take a snorkelling or diving trip. After all, being under water amongst the marine life and the Great Barrier Reef is an experience not to be missed.

Drive out to Port Douglas to embark on the boat that will take you to the reef, as it lies a long way from the shore line. Costs for this vary greatly depending on the length of time, the level of comfort, and the amount of activities you plan to participate in. There are many trips to choose from on the Great Barrier Reef, but not all of them are created equal. Some will not take you to the outer reef and will only take you to Green Island, which is more touristic and crowded.

If you are looking for a diving experience, find a tour operator that offers remote diving spots such as Michaelmas Cay and Paradise Reef. Don’t worry though if you’re not a pro diver. There are ample options for snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef as well and the crews can cater your experience based on your comfort levels in the water and many offer a hot tropical lunch and a licensed bar to share tales of your adventure on the homeward journey.

After a day of water activities, basking in the sun and frolicking amongst the fishes and corals, you will be guaranteed exhausted but happy with the memories you have made with this experience.

Day 4 - Atherton Tablelands

Continue on your adventure in nature with a short drive out of Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands region. Here, countless rivers, gorges and waterfalls await you. Embark on an unofficial waterfall trail that has become quite popular with tourists which will led you to some of the most impressive falls in the area. The loop goes from Cairns to Yungaburra, Milla Milla, to Josephine Falls, Babinda, then back to Cairns.

The two falls that are recommended by local are Milla Milla and Josephine Falls, both natural wonders and great places to take a dip and have a picnic near the water. Depending on your preference, you can see half a dozen different waterfalls on this day or just stop at one or two to enjoy slower pace during your Cairns 5D4N itinerary. Either way, enjoying these Cairns waterfalls will make you forget that you’re anywhere near the beach!

Of course, if you’re looking for a more leisurely day out, you can opt to remain in the city and visit Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome. This large dome, located on the top floor of the Reef Hotel Casino, is the best place to interact with Aussie wildlife without leaving the Cairns CBD. It hosts wildlife shows and presentations, ropes courses located above the wildlife exhibits, and has great views over Cairns.

Fun fact: You’re closer to Papua New Guinea or Indonesia than you are to Sydney, and things are different here. A thumping nightlife and eclectic dining scene contrasts with the general wildness of the town – it’s worth a couple of days

Day 5 - Head back home or continue on your journey around Queensland

After four fun filled days in Cairns, flying back to Malaysia might be a challenge. The great thing is you can choose to continue exploring the rest of Queensland! There is just so much to see and do that can’t be covered in just a 5D4N itinerary. You can easily spend much longer than a week in Cairns and still not run out of places to see and things to do.

Do bare in mind that this itinerary is meant as a guide to help you plan your own Cairns itinerary. You may prefer to skip one or more of the days detailed in this itinerary for a shorter stay in Cairns, or to swap some of the activities for other things that interest you more.

OR you can also opt to have a travel agency like Sedunia Travel handle all the planning for you. Equipped with years of travel experience and a passion for helping travelers make their dream Australia holiday come true, Sedunia Travel has ready-to-go packages to the aforementioned spots and activities across Cairns, Brisbane and Gold Coast

Want to add one package with another or add on more side trips around Queensland? No problem because Sedunia Travel can do just that, taking care of the nitty gritty details from flights (international and domestic!) to lodging, ground arrangements and car rentals. So when planning to travel to Queensland, be sure to book with Sedunia Travel.

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